Gallup Poll: Congress’ 2012 Rating the Lowest in History


In looking at the latest Gallup Poll, you might say the 2012 Congress was flush with victory — if you mean flush as in a flushing toilet. It got the lowest ranking.

Ever.

In history.

Americans give Congress a 14% job approval rating as the new year begins, the lowest since September of last year and down from 18% in November and December. The disapproval rating for Congress is 81%.

These results are based on a Jan. 7-10 Gallup poll, conducted about a week after Congress and the president agreed on legislation that avoided the end-of-year “fiscal cliff,” in part by pushing the deadline for mandated federal budget sequestrations to March 1.

A Gallup poll earlier this month showed that Americans had a split reaction to the fiscal cliff agreement. But the same poll also showed that Americans gave low ratings to the way congressional leaders handled the negotiations, providing some explanation for the low rating of Congress in the current poll.

Additionally, three-quarters of Americans believe the “way politics works in Washington” is harmful to the United States, suggesting that Americans in general are very down on “business as usual” in the nation’s capital.

The lowest individual congressional job approval rating in Gallup’s history is 10%, measured in August of last year. The highest is 84%, measured in October 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Last year’s 15% yearly average was the lowest in Gallup’s 38-year history of asking the question — and 2013 thus appears to be a continuation of 2012′s historically negative attitudes toward Congress. Overall, Americans have been significantly more likely to disapprove than approve of Congress over the decades. The average congressional approval rating since Gallup began measuring it in 1974 is 33.

But Democrats shouldn’t be doing cartwheels.

For one thing, it’d throw out Harry Reid’s back.

For the other, polls find that voters think both parties in Congress smell.

Republicans’ approval of the job Congress is doing dropped to 6% in January, from 14% in December. This eight-percentage-point decline fits with the finding that rank-and-file Republicans had the most negative reactions to the fiscal cliff agreement reached at the end of the year. But Democrats’ approval of Congress dropped by a similar degree — six points, to 15% from 21%. Independents’ approval rating was more constant at 17%, compared to 19% in December.

And you can remain confident Congress will keep up the good work…